Are you regretful for upgrading to Windows 10? Don’t know how to rollback Windows 10 to Windows 7 or Windows 8.1? Here are several solutions for you to downgrade Windows 10 to Windows 7/ 8.1 without data loss.

You May Feel Regretful after Upgrading to Windows 10, Right?

In order to let more people use the newest Windows operating system – Windows 10. Nevertheless, after using this system for a period of time, parts of users planned to rollback Windows 10 to Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 since they think Windows 10 is not as good as Microsoft says, and I searched on the internet, with listing the following 4 reasons for rollback:

  • Some programs cannot be used in Windows 10.
  • Privacy is threatened since Microsoft might collect or leak our private information like address, mail, and phone number by default.
  • Windows 10 loses many cool features which work well in Windows 7 or 8.1.
  • Windows 10 is a new-born operating system so it is vulnerable and unstable.

Related article: Configure Windows 10 from These 3 Aspects to Protect Your Privacy

Of course, there might be other reasons driving you to downgrade Windows 10, but this is not the key point. What users care about most is how to rollback Windows 10 to Windows 7. However, we will show you the solutions for Windows 10 rollback.

How to Rollback Windows 10 to Windows 7 or Windows 8.1?

Backup Important Files in Case of Downgrade Failure

No matter which method we take to rollback Windows 10, it’s best to back up all important files. After all, any accident or error could occur during the rollback process, and this may result in data loss and even system crash.

Thus, you can use the professional file backup software – MiniTool ShadowMaker. It can help you to back up files with ease. So just download it to keep your data safe.

MiniTool ShadowMaker TrialClick to Download100%Clean & Safe

Step1: Install this software and launch it. Then click Connect in This Computer to enter its main interface.

choose Connect to continue

Step 2: Then go to the Backup page and click Source module to choose to Folders and Files to choose which files you want to back up.

choose Folders and Files to continue

Step 3: Then click Destination module to choose where you want to save the backup image.

Step 4: After you have chosen the backup source and destination, you can click Back up Now to perform the task immediately.

click Back up Now to continue

When you have finished all the steps, you have successfully backed up all important files. And you can refer to the post How to Back up Files on Windows 10? Try These Top 4 Ways to know more information about files backup.

In addition, you can also use the Copy Disk feature of MiniTool Partition Wizard to help you back up important files.

MiniTool Partition Wizard FreeClick to Download100%Clean & Safe

Now, we will show you how to rollback Windows 10 to Windows 7.

Downgrade Windows 10 to Windows 7/8.1 within 10 Days

Microsoft has said that you can make the rollback within 10 days as long as you upgrade to Windows 10 from Windows 7/8.1 recently. Microsoft offers an option to do the downgrade, which could be Go back to Windows 7, Go back to Windows 8.1, or Go back to previous version of Windows 10, depending on your system and settings. Here, we take rollback Windows 10 to Windows 8.1 for example:

Tip: Please note that if your computer came with Windows 10 installed, no earlier version of Windows was ever on it. In that situation, you can’t go back to Windows 7 or Windows 8.1.

Click Start > Settings > Update & security > Recovery to get the window below:

choose go back to Windows 8.1

Here you can see the Go back to option. Please tap on Get started button, and then Microsoft will ask for your feedback as well as reasons for changing back to previous Windows. Type your feedback and click Next. Then, the following screen will appear:

plug in your pc

Please make sure that your computer is plugged in because the rollback might be interrupted due to power off, and then click Close to continue. Afterward, click Go back to Windows 8.1 button to do the rollback, which may take some time for the system needs to read settings of the previous Windows. Once the rollback process is completed, your computer will automatically boot from the previous version of Windows.

Tip: Rollback requires the password of your old version of Windows. Without it, you will be locked out of the system. In addition, after you go back to old Windows, some apps coming with Windows 10, like Mail and People, might not work anymore. To fix them, reinstall them from the Store.

Nevertheless, during the rollback progress, you may receive the error message: We are sorry, but you can’t go back. The files we need to take you back to a previous version of Windows were removed from this PC.

rollback error

Now, most users would want to know what files were deleted or removed. In fact, the rollback should be on the availability of Windows.old and $Windows.~BT or $Windows.~WS, which are created by Windows during the upgrade and hidden in drive C by default. If one of them is deleted, renamed, or damaged, then you may receive the error message above. To check whether these files are still there, please do these operations:

Go to Drive C, click on View tab, check File name extensions and Hidden items:

check hidden items

Then open Options, under View tab put the checkmark on Show hidden file, folders, and drives, and remove checkmarks from Hide extensions for known file types and Hide protected operating system files.

uncheck the option hide protected operating system files

After these settings, these files would be visible in root directory of C drive. However, if you can’t find them, most probably they have been lost. Under this situation, users have no choice but to try recovering them or take another rollback solution that will be introduced in the next section.

And if you want to recover the lost or mistakenly deleted data, the Data Recovery feature of MiniTool Partition Wizard plays an important role.

Step 1: Launch MiniTool Partition Wizard to enter its main interface and then choose Data Recovery to continue.

choose Data Recovery to continue

Step 2: Choose the drive that has lost the files and click Scan to continue.

choose the drive and click Scan to continue

Step 3: When the scanning is finished, you can recover your lost data.

Related article: Are You Ready to Recover Deleted Files in Windows 10 Right Now

In addition, it’s very necessary to mention another situation: you are unable to find the Go back to previous version of Windows option even if the upgrade is completed within 10 days. Here is the possible reason: you logged in as a regular user rather than with admin account. To deal with this situation, just change the current account to the admin account, and then the very option would emerge.

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Well then, what if the upgrade has been done for more than 10 days? Users have to take the following methods.

Rollback Windows 10 to Windows 7 or 8.1 after 10 Days Limit

Before showing the exact methods, let’s see a way to extend the 10 days limit to go back to previous version of Windows, which is recommended by lots of websites.

The Way to Extend the One Month Limit to Go back to Previous Windows

Based on the fact that files (Windows.old and $Windows.~BT or $Windows.~WS) used to revert back to Windows 7 will be deleted automatically after 10 days, which is the key to resulting in downgrade to Windows 7/8.1 failure, many people suggest making a copy for those files or renaming them before the 10 days limit ends, which is in theory available. But in my opinion, it’s useless. Here is my explanation.

From Microsoft I got the message that the Go back to previous version of Windows option will be unavailable in Settings if the upgrade has been done for more than 10 days. Without such an option, how can we do the rollback even if files for reverting are still there? Of course, if you are lucky enough to find the option somewhere or make it appear again, this is undoubtedly an excellent solution.

Therefore, users have to look for other ways after the upgrade has been done over 10 days.

Change Windows 10 Back to Windows 7/8.1 from a Windows 7 or 8.1 Backup

Before upgrading to Windows 10, most people will be suggested to make a backup for their system or other important files in case of upgrade failure. If you have prepared such a backup, it could be so easy to do the restoration. You can refer to the following methods.

1. Restore from Backup and Restore (recommended to revert to Windows 7)

Go to Control Panel > System and Security > Backup and Restore (Windows 7) > Select another backup to restore files from. Then, do the recovery by following instructions.

Note: Backup and Restore is a component of Microsoft Windows introduced in Windows Vista, which allows users to create backups and restore from backups. It was deprecated in Windows 8 and removed in Windows 8.1, and then back in Windows 10. This tool allows you to restore any old Windows 7 backups on your Windows 10 computer.

In addition, if you have created a system image for Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 before the upgrade, you can use another recovery option in Windows 10 to do the rollback – Advanced Startup.

How to Back up Windows to Safeguard Your Computer? Try MiniTool!
How to Back up Windows to Safeguard Your Computer? Try MiniTool!

Do you know how to perform Windows backup with ease so as to protect your PC and data? Try to use MiniTool programs to back up Windows.

Read More

2. Restore from System Image

Go to Start > Settings > Update & security > Recovery > Advanced startup > Restart now > Troubleshoot to get the following window:

choose Troubleshoot to continue

Then choose Advanced option to enter the following page and choose System Image Recovery to continue.

choose system image recovery to continue

Note: Everything will be replaced with the information in the system image if you recover from a system image, so please backup all your important files saved after the image is created.

3. Use MiniTool ShadowMaker

If you have created a system image with MiniTool ShadowMaker before updating to Windows 10, you can use this software to downgrade Windows 10 to Windows 7.

MiniTool ShadowMaker TrialClick to Download100%Clean & Safe

MiniTool ShadowMaker can help you to rollback Windows 10 to Windows 7 with the system image. And you can read the post 2 Ways to Restore Computer to Earlier Date in Windows 10 to know more detailed information.

restore system image

In addition, someone suggests rolling back Windows 10 from a command prompt, which is indeed introduced by Microsoft especially for Windows 7 users. If you are interested in this method, just try it. Well, what if we want to do the rollback when Windows 10 is unbootable? Here are 2 options: rollback Windows 10 from Safe Mode or revert it by using Windows installation disc or system repair disc (CD or DVD disc rather than USB flash drive). We haven’t tested these 2 methods, but you can have a try.

All in all, rollback Windows 10 to old version of Windows from a backup is highly recommended if we have a backup for Windows 7 or Windows 8.1, because this requires simple operations and just removes new things. However, if there is no such backup, we have to take the following recovery options.

Rollback Windows 10 to Windows 7 or 8.1 via Restoring Factory Settings

In Windows 10 you are able to restore your computer to factory settings, which reinstalls the version of Windows coming with your computer. For example, if your computer was preinstalled with Windows 8, then upgraded to 8.1, and then upgraded to Windows 10, restoring factory settings will change Windows 10 back to Windows 8 rather than 8.1.

Detailed steps to do factory reset are as follows: go to Start, and then select Settings > Update & security > Recovery > Reset this PC > Get started > Restore factory settings.

Tip: This method will remove all your personal files and programs. So before going ahead, please back them up.

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MiniTool ShadowMaker TrialClick to Download100%Clean & Safe

However, this recovery option isn’t available on all computers. If it doesn’t work for you or you have a product key for the previous version of Windows, we highly suggest making a clean Windows installation.

Change Windows 10 back to Windows 7/8.1 via Clean Installation

You can download the Media Creation Tool to create installation disc for Windows 8.1 or download Windows 7 ISO file and burn it to USB flash drive or DVD. Then, install your old version of Windows from this disc, and the product key for the previous Windows is required.

Bottom Line

After reading this post, do you know how to rollback Windows 10 to Windows 7/8.1? And if you need to downgrade Windows 10 to Window 7, please try these methods.

And if you have any better solution to revert back to Windows 7/8.1, you can share it on the comment zone.

And if you have any problem with MiniTool programs, please feel free to contact us via the email [email protected].

Rollback Windows 7 FAQ

How do I restore my Windows 7 computer to an earlier date?
To restore computer to an earlier date, you can follow the steps below.
  1. Type Create a restore point in the search box of Windows and choose the best matched one.
  2. Then go to the System Protection tab.
  3. Click System Restore… to continue.
  4. Click Next.
  5. Select the Restore point.
  6. Confirm the restore point and choose Finish.
Does Windows 7 have system restore?
System Restore is available in Windows 7. The System Restore feature enables you to create the restore points which can safeguard your computer. It can help you to restore your computer to an earlier date and do not affect your personal files.
How long does a System Restore take Windows 7?
The system restore may take about 15 minutes. Once started, the computer will restart and begin the restore process. It can help you to restore the OS or settings to the previous state and does not affect your personal files. But you need to notice that do not interrupt the restore process if it is started.
Is Windows 7 better than Windows 10?
Windows 7 and Windows 10 are two different operating system versions of Microsoft. If you want to know more difference between Windows 7 and Windows 10, you can read the post: Windows 7 vs. Windows 10: It’s Time to Upgrade to Windows 10? But please note that the Windows 7 will end support on January 14, 2020.
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